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Cut to the chase

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends, An incident at the monastery recently stirred up curiosity in the old phrase "don't beat around the bush." Seems the phrase stems from hunting techniques long ago in which people would beat bushes in an attempt to make birds fly out for an easier hunt, or so they thought. If there were no birds in the big bushes, one could waste time with this method and come home empty handed. Apparently more skilled hunters would suggest "don't beat around the bush." It has come to mean we should say what needs to be said. So here goes: Five people from a nearby church's ministry team-in-training stood in front of our window and mocked some of our participants who were seated inside our monastery around a table praying. The mockers took issue with the way we choose to worship God and called us names. We have reported this to their leadership, noting that we have a video from our security camera, and we pray it will not happen again. But this leads us to a related phrase, "cut to the chase," which the more experienced hunters of old would suggest to those who insisted on beating bushes. We cut to the chase when we say religious intolerance is unacceptable. We will continue to offer our hospitality to all. We "chase" after those who have been taunted by anyone, and especially by those who call themselves Christians. We ARE Christians and our way is one of love and acceptance. In fact, one of our guides for life is "Honoring all expressions of Christian faith and respecting in Jesus’ name all persons of other religions and faiths." Read more about how we might fit into your life below. Middleway's Facebook Group

Friends of St. Joan This new group is a monthly gathering for youth and young adults who identify as LGBTQIA+. Join us in a safe place to explore spirituality monthly on the third Mondays beginning Sept. 19, 6-8 p.m., led by Jodie Robinson and Amy Thompson. Pizza will be provided. 12-Step Community to discuss "Breathing Under Water" Our group will not meet Sept. 20 but will return on Sept. 27 for a discussion of Chapter 2 from Richard Rohr's "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps." The monastery will be open from 5-8 p.m. and the book discussion component, led by Amy and Michael Thompson, is part of the evening. People in any 12-Step program and their friends and families are especially welcome during this time. The study will continue for 12 weeks. Journeys in Prayerful Silence This six-week series introduces different styles of prayer and meditation focused around times of silence and stillness. Sessions each Thursday evening at 6 p.m. begin with a short teaching on the background and purpose of each type of prayer, followed by 15 minutes of practicing. Take time-out with Heidi Campbell and learn how to cultivate peace and stillness through journeying into different expressions of prayerful silence. The series continues through Oct. 13. Middleway is open on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and the prayerful silence segment will be from 7-7:30 p.m. Those who wish to come early or stay late can explore the space on their own. Middleway Book Club returns The book club will discuss "The Lost Page: An Archaeological Thriller" by Joe Edd Morris. This book group is hybrid, so participants can either attend in person at the monastery or by Zoom, Sept. 27 at 10:30 a.m. Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675 Pets and spirituality Sniff us out for a look at the importance of pets and animals to our souls. You and your pets (leashed or in a carrier under your control) are invited to Visual Prayers with Pets on Sept. 28. If you don't have a pet or can't bring yours, that's ok, too. We'll open from 6-8 p.m., with the activity component from 7-8 p.m., led by Elizabeth Crouch. A Pet Blessing will be held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 217 W. 26th St., Bryan, at 11:15 a.m. Bring pets to be blessed by Rev. Daryl Hay and receive a St. Francis medallion for collars, cages or carriers. Something for everyone Between now and January there surely is at least one special program of interest for you. When we say ALL are welcome, we mean it. In addition to the those described above, look ahead to these:

  • Journaling One’s Story – Learn to write about your life to bring deeper spiritual meaning. Monthly on fourth Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • Book Club – “The Lost Page: An Archaeological Thriller” by Joe Edd Morris, discussion Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m.

  • Dia de los Muertos and a look at grief and loss, Oct. 22, 10:30-Noon.

  • Sacred chanting – Learn this ancient method of singing, Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • Wassail at the Monastery – Get a taste of our hospitality with a cup of this traditional holiday beverage. No agenda. We’ll merely open the doors for you to take a breather before the holiday rush, Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

  • Post-Holiday – Celtic Women’s Christmas, Jan. 6, 1-3 p.m.; The Spirituality of Gaming, Jan. 14, 10:30 a.m.-Noon.

How to experience the monastery While we offer a variety of programs you can attend, the monastery is also open for you to just come for a dose of the relaxing atmosphere where no one will bug you. Read, retreat from the hectic pace of your world, use the free art supplies, or partake of any of our prayer techniques that are gently explained in materials throughout the monastery. Children are welcome to come with an adult and may find the art area or special children's spirituality area a way to peace away from electronic distractions. Spiritual direction offered at Middleway A spiritual director is one who can listen to you with a holy ear and doesn't try to "fix" you with their solutions. Being listened to -- truly listened to -- is powerfully healing. You and your spiritual director normally meet monthly for an hour. Our current spiritual directors are listed at Email us at if we can help you. We need you at Middleway We've added several programs at night, which means the monastery will be open for some new times. If you've been unable to volunteer during the days, here's your chance. Middleway is 100 percent volunteer operated. Come be one who welcomes others into this peaceful place. While there, you'll be able to enjoy the hope, peace and comfort as well. Sign up at After you've selected the areas you want to volunteer in, you'll be able to click the Opportunities tab, then Assignments, then Available Shifts. Middleway Urban Monastery's Guide for Life

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